Switzerland Cannot Bear a Bear

Switzerland’s Only Wild Bear is Killed as a Danger to Humans

The only wild bear known to have been living in Switzerland, dubbed M13, was killed recently by Swiss authorities. M13 was a Brown bear that was deemed dangerous because it frequently searched for food in populated areas. The bear had previously been fitted with a radio collar for monitoring. M13 had never shown aggression towards anyone, but authorities decided he was a threat and shot him. This death has caused major outrage on internet sites that supported M13 and also the WWF Swiss branch. People believe it was far too soon to resort to such tactics. The options of relocating M13, informing the public about bear proofing, and more intense efforts to train the bear into being scared by humans were not tried.

I think this is surprising because Switzerland boasts about  its “naturalness.” Furthermore, one of Switzerland’s famous attractions is the Bern Bear Park, which houses Brown bears. (Also, the tagline for this Official Swiss Tourism site is “Get Natural”) M13 was also a Brown bear, but I’m not sure if he was the same species as the ones displayed in the park. Having personally been to the bear park in Bern, I think it’s really neat that they have bears in the middle of the city. A bear is prominently displayed on the canton flag of Bern (a canton is like a State in the US), and is consequently kind of Bern’s mascot. However, after seeing the park, I think it’s really just an upgrade from the bear’s previous cement pit. The land is obviously not ideal space. It is almost all on an incline and was probably deemed ‘good enough’ and convenient because it was right next to the old bear enclosure. Basically, I’m disappointed and surprised Switzerland didn’t try more to help M13, especially if they have bear facilities in their capital. I mean, out of all the successful conservation stories in America, you better believe the Bald Eagle is one of them.



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